By Liza Sisk ’19
Breaking News Staff
“There’s been a downpour, now let’s have an outpour,” read the sign hanging in front of the lemonade stand on Slavin Lawn on Sept. 5. Members of the Board of Programmers and Campus Ministry, armed with cups of lemonade, set out to raise money for the latest victims of Hurricane Harvey.
On Aug. 25, Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, ending a 12-year “hurricane drought” in the state and bringing mass destruction. Hurricane Harvey was classified as a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale which, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, measures a hurricane’s sustained wind speed and includes the highest ranking of Category 5.
Harvey made landfall with winds speeds at 130 mph and continued to move around southeast Texas as a weakening hurricane and tropical storm. Southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana took the brunt of the rainfall as Harvey dropped between 40 and 52 inches of rain and triggered flash flooding in areas of Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The hurricane broke the record for the most rainfall ever from a single storm in the continental United States.
Despite being 1,815 miles away, the detrimental effects of the hurricane were still, and continue to be, felt on the Providence College campus. A few Texans, both students and faculty, have made PC their second home and have stood in solidarity with the Lone Star State as they persevere through this natural disaster.
Dr. Dana Dillon, from the public and community service and theology departments, hails from Corpus Christi, Texas and has family and friends living in Houston. “The weekend Harvey hit, I spent hours glued to social media and to CNN, trying to figure out who was safe and who was still in danger,” she explained.
“It was really scary to watch people post about the rising waters and then stop posting and not know what had happened for hours sometimes. It was also really inspiring in some ways. Two guy friends of mine loaded up 4x4s and boats and became part of the ‘Texas navy’ of private citizens that helped rescue people,” reflected Dr. Dillon.
Raised in Southlake, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, Simran Madhani ’18 felt particularly proud of her PC community for the outpour of generosity and support demonstrated towards her home state. “PC’s contribution is truly amazing. While geographically removed from the catastrophe and the subsequent struggles, Providence College is trying hard to be part of the global community. By fundraising for Houston, PC has truly shown that its generosity and giving nature extends to people beyond just our students and surrounding community. It is really comforting to know that the institution that I attend is trying to help in any way that it can,” said Madhani.
BOP and Campus Ministry collaborated to engage the PC community in contributing to the hurricane relief efforts. BOP member Erin McCarthy ’19 chaired the lemonade stand event. “I felt that it was important to hold this event because I wanted to make sure that faculty and staff at Providence College affected by the hurricane knew that the PC community is supporting them and standing hand in hand with them,” explained McCarthy. She went on to share her passion for global citizenship and focusing on the understanding that “community stretches far beyond the gates of Providence College, we are working to do our part for our fellow humans.”
The joint efforts between Campus Ministry and BOP made $430 at the lemonade stand and dedicated the collection at the masses at St. Dominic Chapel this past Sunday, September 3, to the cause as well. The grand total fell just shy of $900.
The money will be split up between the Harvey Relief Fund, a local relief initiative in Houston established by Houston mayor Sylvester Turner and County Judge Ed Emmett, and the Texas Diaper Bank, which meets basic needs of “vulnerable babies, children with disabilities and seniors,” according to their mission statement. The donations will be housed at the Greater Houston Community Foundation and will go directly to citizens of Houston as they try to rebuild from the hurricane’s destruction.